Can anyone tell anyone else three things that United Future are good for (answers on a postcard please to Dr M. Cullen c/- Parliament, Helengrad). To quote our fearless leader, they’ve been about as much use as tits on a bull, haven’t they? Except of course as a doormat for our fearless leader.
However, I may need to review my opinion of them, or at least of Gordon Copeland.
Just drawn from the parliamentary ballot is Copeland’s private member’s bill proposing that property rights be put into the Bill of Rights where it belongs, and should have been long ago. He argues “the rights to own private property dated back to the Magna Carta in 1215, and extended through New Zealand's common law tradition,” and of course, he’s right, they did, until those rights were buried under the Resource Management Act. I’ve argued elsewhere that the act is a disaster, and that the only solution is a stake through its heart.
Anyway, the RMA’s burial of property rights would not have been possible with a Bill of Rights that 1) had real teeth, and 2) included property rights amongst those protected. Copeland can’t do much about the former, but he is trying on the latter and I applaud him. (FYI, here's how a real Bill of Rights might look. And here, a Bill of No Rights.)
Kudos too for Stephen Franks, who supports the measure saying "some historians and scholars make a strong case for property rights being more essential than democracy to establishing freedom and more valuable in preserving it." They certainly do. Here’s one of them here. Buy his book - if you want your property rights protected, it's essential intellectual self-defence.
[Edited: Links fixed, 2:20pm, Sat 9 April]